Several annual industry conferences are scheduled to return to their traditional in-person formats this fall, and there seems to be a desire among some advisors to attend.
But some advisors indicated their decisions to attend or not will be based on whether they and others have been vaccinated in time.
The companies running the conferences, meanwhile, told ThinkAdvisor they realize that changes may need to be made based on issues including vaccination levels and government rules related to public gatherings. Most also realize at least some advisors will opt to participate virtually for the time being.
Orion Advisor Services has scheduled Ascent 2021 for Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The firm’s decision to return the conference to its traditional format “came down to our ability to hold an in-person conference that is as safe as possible for our physical attendees, while also offering a virtual experience that is just as robust in terms of learning, entertainment, and professional growth,” according to Eric Clarke, its CEO.
“We considered which COVID-19 safety protocols were most effective, and we believe that the vaccine rollout will be much more widespread by Q3,” he told ThinkAdvisor.
But he added: “Safety is our top priority, and we will continue to monitor the pandemic conditions in the coming months and will make any changes as necessary. We’re monitoring local and national COVID-19 conditions and following Arizona safety guidelines. We won’t hesitate to make any further changes to Ascent that are necessary for the health of its attendees.”
Orion has “seen growing travel willingness from advisors and other typical attendees, and we will be polling them to get a pulse check leading up to the event,” he said. “At the same time, we are respecting everyone’s individual choice and comfort level with a physical event. That is why we’re boosting Ascent’s virtual offering this year. No one should feel left out if they would rather have a digital conference experience.”
Orion expects to host more than 1,200 attendees in person and virtually. “At the moment, Arizona is operating at a 50% occupancy capacity for events,” Clarke said. “We are prepared to welcome 750 people on site. We don’t expect any conference in 2021 will look like events from previous years, as physical distancing, sanitation measures and other safeguards will be in place.”
Riskalyze’s Fearless Investing Summit is scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Palm Springs, California.
Riskalyze has “got a close eye on the improving trends in the rate of infections, hospitalizations, intensive care unit capacity, and vaccinations, [and] we’ve been working with our hotel partners, speakers and previous attendees, and their guidance has been phenomenal,” according to Dan Bolton, managing director of customer marketing at Riskalyze.
He conceded the pandemic is “far from over,” but said: “We’re betting on America and believe that, by the third quarter of 2021, there will be an effective national vaccine program in place, in addition to rigorous testing and safety protocols. In the meantime, our events team is keeping a close watch on California regulations and will provide updates to our event plans as needed.”
Riskalyze is also “making sure attendees don’t have to take any unnecessary risks,” he said. That is also why Riskalyze is offering a “100% refund policy,” he added, calling that the “right thing to do.”
Before announcing its plans for this year’s Summit, Riskalyze surveyed customers and “80% said they will be ready to participate in large conferences by Q3, with 50% saying they would attend industry events now,” he said.
T3 Advisor/Enterprise Conference
The Technology Tools for Today (T3) Advisor/Enterprise Conference is scheduled for Sept. 27-Oct. 1 in Denton, Texas.
“We are as confident as we can be,” Joel Bruckenstein, president of T3 and producer of the annual conference, told ThinkAdvisor when asked how confident he was the event will indeed be held in person.
“We still believe that everyone who wants to get vaccinated will be able to do so by the end of the summer. That being the case, we feel pretty good about the chances,” he said.